Parking on the Square was changed for locals and visitors dramatically just two short years ago with the installation of parking meters.
The parking meters were implemented to allow for easier access to businesses and restaurants. Before the parking meters were installed, there was a serious issue with parking availability because of the limited spaces and people who would park their vehicles in front of businesses and leave them throughout the day.
“There was no turnover,” said Director of Parking Matt Davis. “People would find a parking spot at 8:00 am and stay there all day.”
Currently, there are 291 parking meters on and around the Square, and a unit of the Oxford Police Department known as the Parking Division monitors them. The Parking Division employs two Parking Enforcement Officers who patrol and write tickets for expired meters.
“The meters have a grace period built into them,” Davis said. “If the time runs out on the meter it will go into negative minutes for up to four minutes. When the officer sees that it is expired, he will write a ticket without waiting.”
These parking meters and tickets generate revenue for the Parking Division. Since first being installed in 2014, the parking meters and tickets have turned a profit of over $800,000 to fund parking projects.
“We set up a special fund,” Davis said. “All the money collected from the parking meter and from tickets goes into a fund that will pay for a parking garage or better sidewalks or just something to improve parking. It doesn’t go into the general fund.”
Due to the revenue stream that the parking meters have provided, the Parking Division met recently and recommended to the Board of Alderman that a parking garage be built to further improve parking around the Oxford Square. This potential parking garage could have a budget of as much as $8 million on the top end but would provide income to offset the cost.
By Amy Goodin, HottyToddy.com contributor. She may be reached at argoodin12